Defense Date


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Educational Studies

First Advisor

Michael West


Abstract IMPACT OF ALTERNATIVE FINANCING PROGRAMS ON QUALITY OF LIFE AND EMPLOYMENT OUTCOMES OF INDIVIDUALS WITH DISABILITIES By: Amy Nicole Dye Davis This study investigated the effect of assistive technologies purchased through Alternative Financing Programs (AFP) for individuals with disabilities on quality of life, independence in the home and community, and employment. In fiscal year 2000, AFPs received federal grants under the Technology-Related Assistance for Individuals with Disabilities Act (after it was repealed and renamed the AT Act) to provide financial loans to persons with disabilities to enable them to purchase assistive technologies (AT). In fiscal year 2002, Congress appropriated funds to support grants to increase access to telework for individuals with disabilities. There are 33 AFPs located across the U.S. and territories that use said funding to provide alternative financing for persons with disabilities so that the aforementioned opportunities are possible. This study also examined telework, defined as a way to reduce or eliminate barriers to employment or self-employment. Telework, irrespective of the circumstance or initial motivation, has the potential to circumvent the need to navigate the traditional workplace. As a result, telework could raise the standards for equality in the job market for persons with disabilities. An examination of AFP clients delineated loan acceptance and rejection rates, goals for acquiring assistive technologies, and employment outcomes for said individuals with disabilities. Determining the reasons why AFP clients needed assistive technology and how they planned to use it defined predictors to successful employment outcomes. Finally, the overall effectiveness of the AFPs with respect to increasing quality of life, independence, and employment rates for persons with disabilities was assessed. Examining employment outcomes as they are linked to public policy is puissant and a connection not previously pursued. This study found statistically significant associations between quality of life and employment in that persons with disabilities who were AFP applicants reported a higher quality of life if they were employed. Also found, was a statistically significant association between quality of life and independence levels in that persons with disabilities who reported increased independence at home or in the community also reported having a better quality of life.


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Date of Submission

May 2010

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